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Brisbane Broncos surprise outsiders on the opening day

Posted on 16/01 by Joe Gann

Brisbane Broncos surprise outsiders on the opening day
The Broncos start as surprising $2.00 underdogs against the Dragons.

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Despite starting the year as the bookies’ fourth favourites to claim the Premiership crown, the Brisbane Broncos head into the new campaign as slight underdogs against the Dragons.

Perhaps the uncertainty stemming from the loss of key figures Adam Blair, Ben Hunt, Benji Marshall, Tautau Moga, Jai Arrow and Herman Ese’ese has prompted a quelled expectation, but the Broncos have plenty of reasons to be quietly confident ahead of the big kick-off.

The return of Andrew McCullough will be pivotal to Wayne Bennett’s side; the hooker’s untimely absence at the tail-end of the campaign damaged the team as Ben Hunt stepped into the unfamiliar role of rake.

Hunt’s kicking game will be missed by the Broncos, and someone will need to step up to cover his loss. However, the partnership of Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima will be given an opportunity to continue to blossom; the pair looked unstoppable at times last year.

Jack Bird’s arrival will be a boost to the roster, with the former Cronulla man likely to be deployed at centre, although Bennett may be forced to his utilise his versatility as the season progresses.

It is the forward pack though where the Broncos have sustained the most upheaval with Blair, Ese’ese and Arrow moving on. A spot next to Korbyn Sims in the front row is up for grabs, with Matt Lodge, Sam Tagataese, Payne Haas and Sam Thaiday all vying for the jersey.

With Darius Boyd and Corey Oates returning fresh from an off-season free of international duties, the Broncos can rely on one of the most consistent backlines in the competition, and reason to be upbeat ahead of the clash with the Dragons.

The Broncos are $2.00 to beat the Dragons in Round 1.

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